Sunday, 31 May 2009

Yes, I am Still a Student.

photo by: Bronndave

It's been cracking weather in Oxford of late. I enjoyed a massive day in the sunshine on Saturday, amongst a lot of flesh and lycra, at Summer VIII's - the biggest intercollegial regatta here and a good excuse for everyone else to get together, have a few Pimms and overpriced burgers and and run along the banks screaming for our College crews. Only lowpoint for me was hearing a bunch of short men talk about how the other Colleges did not have as much money as theirs (by the looks of their equipment etc) and point out women who they thought "should not be wearing Lycra". Unfortunately, it was so humourless that there was not much to do with it live. You can't really work with that material (so instead I will report on them here).

photo by: winkyintheuk

After a full day by the River, rowers and fans slowly made it to a nearby pub to toast various things. A few of us then grabbed some take-away and went to Uni Parks for wine and stories, then back to College for group hugging and dancing (and a strange bike riding competition between two gingers who had not hopped on bikes for 20 years). As usual, the DJ wanted to play trendy club anthems. I told him that I hoped he had not been misinformed, but that the remit of a College party is pretty much cheese. He told me, with his eyes fixated on his computer screen and refusing to take off his headphones, that he did not know what cheese meant. I listed a few songs and said that he might just have to let go of his vision in the name of getting some people on the floor (I was mildly less bratty in real life). He snarled and it was only a few tracks later (some spectacular doof doof) that he obliged us with some generic RnB and wedding classics. As a mate reminded me today, we could always threaten DJs with a Spotify playlist or even just use one and pocket the cash.

photo by: Laura Sauls

So, yes, it's true, my life's still very much the student deal. Although, that also means I am off to Italy this week with two lovely ladies. I won't be online. I plan to be be caught up in this.

I will have to wait til after I return to tell you about (former Australian Prime Minister) John Howard's visit to Oxford last Thursday and my awkward "sorry dad" interaction (for a quick glance at the man in action, click here) and possibly, if the themes can settle in my mind, yesterday's Synechode, New York cinema experience. (What a trip! What a fantastic mess! Meaning of life, death, love, sexuality, relationships, the value of art and the artistic life, the boundaries between reality and illusion, and the routine lenses of health anxiety disorder, narcissim, depression, and, at times, a certain type of maleness all cobbled into one extraordinary movie, and one you're never sure really works as a movie...Perhaps this is enough right here and I shall wait for Alice's tidy review.)

In any case, have a nice week!

Friday, 29 May 2009

Those Men and Women Again!

photo by: worryworts

Was sitting next to two guys at a restaurant with a bunch of other grad students a few nights ago. Both lovely and smart and good times. One of them noticed that there were a few awkward dates surrounding us and so they began asking me for my analyses of the women's body language. Just so you know, I primarily examined the manner in which they ate. It didn't take too much thought, I've got to say.

  • Using fork for food that could be handled, deliberate placement in mouth, bright, wide eyes and a receded chin as if man opposite is super interesting = tres keen, second date.
  • Shoving pizza in with fingers, hunching top half of body, looking to side = not so keen, hoping he will lose interest.
  • Eating slowly, sitting cross-legged under table, smiling demurely, facing straight on = more keen than want to show as very early days. Nice English girl.

This progressed to a more general discussion about how women tend to think - you know, the classics: community-minded, more likely than men to obsess about one negative instead of being content with the positives, etc, etc. Anyway, one of the guys brought up how you can manipulate that when picking up women, by making them feel insecure or unsure about your affection and interest.

It occurred to me that maybe this works quite well for a one-off encounter, shall we say (my grandmother reads this), with a certain type of gal. But I believe it's a highly unsound strategy long-term because you would then actually have to deal with that approval-seeking crazy who you selected for that quality. Imagine having to spend your romantic and then day-to-day life putting down your love object and/or assuring them all the time, say for instance when you're just trying to reach for the breakfast or watch a DVD or enjoy your time together. Dreadful.

Then the following evening, after dinner in hall, a guy in College mentioned how he looks forward to a future where he can come home after work each day to find his dinner ready for him courtesy of his wife. Wouldn't we all, champ? I would love a wife too. I need one now actually, as I sit amongst my own filth and clutter. But, as I said to him, you would pay up for it by having to have dull, passive conversations over that perfect meal. He grunted, only half-convinced. He then said he guessed it would be like being married to your housekeeper, but I suspect he still quite liked the idea.

Any one else got some recent man stroke women observations? No hateful ones please, just curious ones.

Tuesday, 26 May 2009

Happy Little Oxonians Enjoy a Garden Play

On Sunday evening, I had one of those perfect experiences that Oxford offers from time to time. After deliberating on a punt, a group of us took off to see the Oscar Wilde's The Importance of Being Earnest presented by the New College MCR. The setting itself was almost enough - New College is breathtaking.

There were around 200 of us perched on fold-out seats or lounging on rugs on the grass. We were encouraged to bring picnic food and drinks and the classics - Pimms, strawberries and chocolate - were not forgotten. It was warm and yellow, with Spring things in the air diffusing the light. We were boxed in by a couple of charming, low-hanging trees and the cloisters which served as the back drop for the play.

The photographs below were taken on another night. I am glad that I can use them here (Thanks Anu) as I didn't take my camera, but they don't quite portray just how light and lulling it was on the Sunday. It seemed more like the photos above, but dreamier.

photos by: Anu Devi

The student actors did a pretty terrific job at capturing Wilde's wit and satire. Also, the director who opened and closed the night was deliciously eccentric which helped set the tone. I know one of the cast members and I can say unreservedly that she was a stand-out. The famous lines made everyone smile and by Act 2 we were all sitting back and laughing together. By the end, were only too happy to oblige the drinking needs of the cast and put our seats away before riding home on our bikes.

Here are some of the many gems for your pleasure. Got a bit carried away, so feel free to stop when you need to:

Really, if the lower orders don’t set us a good example, what on earth is the use of them?
Algernon, Act 1.

Girls never marry the men they flirt with. Girls don't think it right.
Algernon, Act 1.

Ah! That must be Aunt Augusta. Only relatives, or creditors, ever ring in that Wagnerian manner.
Algernon, Act 1.

Nor do I in any way approve of the modern sympathy with invalids. I consider it morbid. Illness of any kind is hardly a thing to be encouraged in others. Health is the primary duty of life.
Lady Bracknell, Act 1.

I do not approve of anything that tampers with natural ignorance. Ignorance is like a delicate exotic fruit; touch it and the bloom is gone. The whole theory of modern education is radically unsound. Fortunately in England, at any rate, education produces no effect whatsoever. If it did, it would prove a serious danger to the upper classes, and probably lead to acts of violence in Grosvenor Square.
Lady Bracknell, Act 1.

I am sick to death of cleverness. Everybody is clever nowadays. You can’t go anywhere without meeting clever people. The thing has become an absolute public nuisance. I wish to goodness we had a few fools left.
Jack, Act 1.

Few parents nowadays pay any regard to what their children say to them. The old-fashioned respect for the young is fast dying out.
Gwendolen, Act 1.

If I am occasionally a little over-dressed, I make up for it by being always immensely over-educated.
Algernon, Act 2.

I don’t quite like women who are interested in philanthropic work. I think it is so forward of them.
Cecily, Act 2.

Cecily: When I see a spade I call it a spade. Gwendolen: I am glad to say that I have never seen a spade. It is obvious that our social spheres have been widely different.
Act 2.

Well, I can’t eat muffins in an agitated manner. The butter would probably get on my cuffs. One should always eat muffins quite calmly. It is the only way to eat them.
Algernon, Act 2.

Never speak disrespectfully of Society. Only people who can’t get into it do that.
Lady Bracknell, Act 3.

Untruthful! My nephew Algernon? Impossible! He is an Oxonian.
Lady Bracknell, Act 3.

Here's a picture I came across this morning (Wed) by Brett Tully, another Aussie student (we're everywhere!) and one who is very handy with a camera. For some more of his delightful pics of Oxford, click here.

Friday, 22 May 2009

Article Dump 3

photo by: smallandround

Some things in my electronic collection box:
  1. Beaten to the Punchline by Germaine Greer: What's holding women back in comedy?

  2. The Quiet Coup by Simon Johnson: Former chief economist of the International Monetary Fund says the finance industry has effectively captured the US government

  3. Who's Buried in Cleopatra's Tomb? by Stacy Schiff: Women, power and myth

  4. Born Believers: How your brain creates God by Michael Brooks: Is religious belief hardwired?
Read if you like.

Two things in my mental collection box:
  1. When colleagues/fellow students/friends are self-centred and emotionally greedy after a long day: I only accept compliments or presents after 10pm. (A student here gave me this to use in future and I like it.)

  2. When people ask you what you're doing next and you have neither the answer nor the energy to come up with a grand plan to satisfy them (as you might have done at some earlier stage): I understand you need my certainty to make yourself feel reassured, but I just can't provide you with that right now.
Use if you like.

Sunday, 17 May 2009

Eurovision Song Contest 2009

Final Place, Country (link) & My Live Armchair Comments

01. Norway - Little cutie with a cheeky monkey face singing about how he is in love with a fairytale. Lots of violins and the triangle to create a Mr Sandman, 1950s feel. Will probably win because he is so likeable and the song is fun and cheeseball. Standing ovation.

02. Iceland - Proper early 90s power pop, the singer is wearing a 1970s bridesmaid's dress. Crap lyrics but massive key changes. Will make the top 5.

03. Azerbaijan - A couple in terrible white outfits belting out lines like "Always in my mind, always in my heart", "I believe I am addicted to you. In your eyes, I see dreams coming true." Summer feel - can imagine doing this in a Congo line at a cheap holiday resort. Very catchy. Tad Shakira. Ended with "Always, all the time." Will come in top three.

04. Turkey - Sluzzy bellydance pop. Suspicious use of pretty girl at front and then two oldies helping out with vocals. Heavy reliance on wind machine. Easy tune and effective use of hip drops. Crowd loved it.

05. United Kingdom - Lord Webber at white piano, pretty Jade in floaty dress. As she came down stairs, she was nearly brained by a violinist (who really didn't need to be as determined with his long stroke given that all instrumentals are mimed). Biggest power ballad of night. Perhaps too polished and not fun or interesting enough. Standing ovation. Top five unless UK still not popular on the continent.

06. Estonia - Very pretty girl with blunt, shiny fringe in long elegant dress. Lots of cellos, pain, classical emo pop. One to watch.

07. Greece - Former gymnast jumping around to early 90s club music. Very Ricky Martin - white jeans, white tight t-shirt, lots of chest pops and crude hip action with legs spread out. Beaucoup de pointing at crowd and acting out the words with hand gestures. Same stylist as the Russian winner from last year. Copped some nipple action for my troubles.

08. France - Classic French megastar with timeless beauty and a striking (deep) throatiness at end of each line. I feel like I am back in the mid-90s. Strange choice to end with some free dancing when in a classic LBD.

09. Bosnia & Herzegovina - Military folk song by a boy band in marching band outfits.

10. Armenia - Twins in traditional gothic get-up rhyming a load of one-syllable words. Mixture of folk, cabaret and green strobe lighting. Truly do not know how to interpret. Makes absolutely no sense to me. [Got to say this song made more sense to me this morning when I heard it again. What does this mean? Do I need to get back to Oz for some festival rock?]

* * *

20. Germany - Another little man. What's it with little men singing pop? Tight black shirt, shiny silver pants. Does not look interested at all in the female back-up dancers. Burlesque, gay (showtime) pop. Dita Von Teese appearance. What was she thinking? She is trying to seem icy and untouchable at Eurovision. Not on, Dita.

21. Sweden - Hulk Hogan's sister singing pop opera that sounds like an airline commercial. Female back-up dancers in black suits holding masks covered in cut glass. Mind-boggling.

22. Malta - Disney ballad from a larger lady with a fabulous voice. Straight from the Lion King or Cinderella. Will be a quiet achiever.

23. Lithuania - Angry emo boy tries a bit of Juzzie Timberlake. Ends with a flame coming out of palm of hand - gratuitous. Could be something the Euros are into. Wouldn't be surprised if it does well, although perhaps disadvantage to be on first?

23. Spain - Ballroom dancing pop with a traditional Spanish twist. The lyrics and feel are completely unoriginal and will be swallowed up by other acts. Good night Spain. Take a bow now.

25. Finland - White rapper with baseball cap joins diva to produce some irrelevant club number. Even the fire stick guys in the back looked bored.

The song that caused me the most discomfort:

12. The Ukraine - Celina Dion and Christina Aguilera in the worst sense - Skinny singer with short, shredded red dress, long black boots, legs spread apart, fake boobs, gladiators carrying her around. She took to drums and smashed it up. Early 90s pole-dancing music. Central line in song: "I'm your anti-crisis girl." Saw on live Twitter feeds that people thought she was singing "anti-Christ girl". Truly disturbing. Apparently she mortgaged her house to fund the props. Poor dear.

The song that I was secretly hoping would win:

15. Portugal - Happy times song straight from Harold and Maude sound track and reworked for contemporary crowd. Chubby-cutie singer with super voice. Pretty flowers, colours, accordians and traditional dress (traditional dress or all white the two uniforms of the competition). Happiest band of the night.

Friday, 15 May 2009

Meme Time

photo by: smallandround of painting by Jeremiah Ketner
  1. What’s your current obsession? I have a few: My thesis, The Apprentice (UK), pilates.
  2. What’s you favorite color and why? Green and out of habit - at age 6 my twin chose blue so I had to sniff around elsewhere. I think I did well.
  3. What are you wearing today? Jeans, Converse, dark blue and grey striped top with cross-stitching across the chest, and a fairly new fringe.
  4. Why is today special? The Eurovision Song Contest's on tonight. Andy Lloyd Webber is behind the UK entry. Can't wait to see whether his efforts succeed in altering the voting patterns, or whether, as ever, the UK will be awarded 'nil point'. The British regard Eurovision as ridiculous, tasteless and continental. Looking forward to slobbing out with a red wine and some corn chips and tsatziki.
  5. What would you like to learn to do? Fully accept my feisty personality.
  6. What was the last thing that inspired you? John Bond's talk on the chain of events that led to Australia's National Sorry Day (26 May) and then, finally, to the apology of our Prime Minster, Kevin Rudd, to Indigenous Australians in February last year. One of the themes of his talk was the ways in which politicians and intellectuals can simply lose the ability to relate to matters of the heart. It was clear from his talk that the movement involved an immense, and sometimes vicious, battle with the previous government. I hadn't realised just how long and concerted the campaign was and I had little sense at the time that it was as much about interactions with specific individuals as formalised policies. You can read about it here and here.
  7. What’s the last thing you bought? A pair of (cheap) gold hoop earrings with a single dove sitting in the bottom of each loop.
  8. What are you listening to right now? Birds and wind outside, whirring of computer.
  9. What’s your most challenging goal right now? To finish thesis with flair and enough positive energy to make a sensible next step.
  10. What do you think about the person who tagged you? Ink seems like someone I would get along with in real life. She seems smart, funny and ebullient.
  11. If you could have a house totally paid for, fully furnished anywhere in the world, where would you like it to be? Overlooking ocean, with a short walk or animal ride through pretty scenery to markets selling local produce, flowers, crafty things etc.
  12. What would you like to have in your hands right now? A contract for a 'you can teach anything you would like to teach from any discipline' academic post. Would settle for less.
  13. What would you like to get rid of? Things that cause unnecessary fear and panic - like occupational healthy and safety signs, 90% of the news, some people's conversational style etc.
  14. If you could go anywhere in the world for the next hour, where would you go? Extended family dinner at my parents' house, fully catered for so no one had to duck back and forth to kitchen.
  15. What super power would you like to possess? Flying because then I could efficiently transport myself without carbon emissions, and in the process avoid anxieties that accompany air travel sickness and control issues. I am sure I would continually test my courage and become very good at it.
  16. What’s your favorite piece of clothing in your own closet? My dark grey mack from Japan (but bought here). It has a dramatic collar, comes in at the waist, then out again to the knee.
  17. What’s your dream job? Professional learner-teacher-writer-entertainer in one.
  18. If you had an unexpected $1000, what would you spend it on? Probably rent in Oxford, but hopefully on an indulgent three course breakfast with friends from the various parts and phases of my life.
  19. What do you find annoying? See The Trial at Lunar House entry - that sort of stuff.
  20. Describe your personal style. Jeans or skirts with cute things. Anything with stripes, stitching, lace, layers, stockings, buttons, bows, floral motifs. Things that don't match. Things that puff out. Mostly dark blue, grey, black, light pink, orange-red, white, cream and purple. Usually wearing too much for the temperature and often lazy with final execution.
  21. What fashion show would you want tickets to? Have trained myself not to covet high fashion.
  22. Whose closet would you want to raid? Many a posh English gal here in Oxford.
  23. What are you most proud of? My tenacity and sense of loyalty.
  24. The beautiful bloggers I’d like to know about are: Everyone reading this! (thanks Ink). If you don't have blogs, please post your answers in my comments.

→ Now the rules of this tag:

1. Respond and rework: answer the questions on your blog, replace one question you dislike with a question of your own invention.

2. Tag 7 other people you would love to learn more about. (see no. 24)

The Trial at Lunar House

After many weeks of gathering documents from my Faculty and my bank, sending inane emails to various administrators and finally* filling out a 55-page form, I headed down to the Public Enquiry Office of Immigration & Border Control in Croydon (South of London) yesterday to extend my student visa. The six hours spent in public transport was uncomfortable, but the experience really came to its own inside Lunar House itself, the 1970s government building shown in the photograph above. As I followed that first painted red line out the front leading to security check, I had no clue just how fitting the name - a nod to the moon landings - would be.

The operation kicked off by lining up to have bags scanned, lining up to have documents checked and approved and a case number given, being directed upstairs, having paperwork checked at bottom of stairs and top of stairs, and lining up to have documents checked again and to pay the £565 fee. It then meant joining over a hundred other people (and their bored, grizzly kids) on rows of blue plastic chairs bolted in to face a long line of glass booths, booths which were designed to shield the case workers from us slipshod foreigners. The security staff (dotted every 10 metres) was clearly straight from the set of EastEnders: cheeky, thick necked, balding young guys and white-blond, throaty, older women with frosty make up.

As I sat on a sticky chair, numbers were called out every few seconds by automation. Often different recordings called out over the top of each other. Orange numbers flashed from squares above each booth while the position and progress of our numbers were depicted in a separate visual display. The only other form of entertainment was a slide show of the Border Control's policies and procedures, with the same messages (about their staff not tolerating abuse and their disability facilities) being earnestly read out over and over by alternating people, each representing the various categories of race, gender, religion and age.

After a good 40 minutes (well over an hour since arrival), my number was called. I sat down in front of the young case worker. The applicants' chairs had been bolted a good foot or so back from what would be a natural distance from the counter. This meant we all had to lean forward awkwardly, over-extending our backs, essentially putting our chins or two hands on the counter to hold on. I placed my materials through the chute as directed. Case worker silently looked at them. I stared at the 'panic attack' red button in the middle of a grey box to the right of the case worker. It took me to the control room of 1970s sci-fi movies and I thought I heard the distinct sounds of David Bowie singing Space Oddity. Caseworker typed some things, stamped stuff and then politely told me to take a seat.

I waited over an hour. Little kids started to wail and run and hit their heads on the corners of the seats and wail even more loudly. Some parents tried to sleep on each other. My number was called again and 'they' took my biometric details - digital prints and a photo - for these new biometric ID cards, a scheme that originated, more or less, after the London bombings in 2005. (Now I am here, I couldn't really object, could I?) I plopped back down and stared for an hour and a half. I tried to do some work, but laptops were forbidden and the air was stale. I also forgot to eat, mesmerised by my number flashing on screen, slowly advancing to the front of each electronic queue.

I should be fair, there were some high points, a couple of moments of fuzziness when I sensed that we - applicants from different parts of the world, of different colours and creeds - were all facing this Kafkaesque doorkeeper together. Overhearing the husky security ladies share suggestive jokes and provide nurturing pieces of advice also made me smile.

For several minutes I watched my number sit at the top of the 'case consideration' stream. My number was called and I sat in front of a different case worker. Case worker followed a very similar procedure: checked my forms and passport, typed in my details. She then informed me that my application would have to be sent downstairs to be vertified again because of an internal audit process and that I would have to wait another two hours minimum. Without thinking too much, I calmly told her that I would be hopping on a bus back to Oxford rather than waiting any more (my dwindling mind was fixated on one thing: getting back for a talk by Richard Dawkins) and asked if they would please send my passport to me as and when. Caseworker said, 'But what if you have to come back down because they need you to bring something extra?' I said that given that I had already made it through at least three, possibly seven, checks here today, I was willing to take that risk. She then said she would see if she could get my application looked at by 'floor one' sooner. I thanked her and resumed my spot on sticky seat.

I watched a case worker in the booth next to mine tell a Chinese couple that they would have to wait another 2 hours minimum, which they accepted, deflated. Brushing off concerns about whether or not I was a brat for holding myself to ransom, I made my way outside, determined to inhale some air from this century. Nevertheless, leaving the building also meant having to go through security and checks again so, I would say to others, it is only just about worth it.

While I waited another 30 minutes, I filled out a feedback card. My two suggestions were that the security staff be given greater role diversity or responsibility as their boredom was making them jumpy and erratic and that the case workers be trained to display some sense of awareness of just how long and dull the process is as their neutral and sometimes sharp expressions were hard to take after 4 hours+ of waiting in one room. I was called and reunited with my beloved passport. My application for an extension of my student visa had been approved.

Just to tie up the blogging proceedings (and I thank you for joining me), I think my final few minutes at Lunar House were symbolic. As I left the booth for the final time, I announced to a few people still waiting, 'It can be done, Ladies and Gentlemen. This process does have a finish, I assure you.' They were all pretty much dribbling by this time and I had no takers. I pranced over to the tired kiosk and immediately spotted the gold of a Crunchie being shown off by the plastic-wrapped beige chicken rolls. I took out my pennies, ready to get some honeycomb goodness. With the giddy enthusiasm of someone being found not-guilty and facing the press outside the court or of someone leaving prison after being wrongly accused, I trumpetted, 'I am treating myself to a celebratory Crunchie, how much are they?' The heavily-lined lady (who I had heard being pretty funny earlier in the day) replied, without moving any of her face, 'I am about to change the till, you will have to come back in 15 minutes.' I said, 'Can I please just leave you the money as I am finally on my way out.' She said, 'No.' I said, 'OK, well I guess I'll be going then.' She croaked, 'Suit yourself.'

*If you're interested in the form filling process which involved visiting the student advisory service here in Oxford, please let me know. I can share a wonderful email my boyfriend sent me to make me feel better about my apparent failures on this front.

Monday, 11 May 2009

Too Tired to Be Grateful

photo by: Denis Collette

Hey, remember how I said I listened to this meditation podcast that told me to turn my frustration into gratitude? Well, it's only just about working at the moment. Probably not working, really.

Here are some things I did on Sunday that made me smile and feel connected:
  • Lay in bed for a while, stared and turned into different foetal balls.
  • Rang home for Aussie Mother's Day and had a nice chat with my mother and my youngest brother.
  • Pilates at the gym - which I am suddenly rather fond of since it appears to be reversing some of the effects of my poor posture at the computer. Wore some long 80s-style leggings which made me want to do star jumps.
  • Strolled from town to Cowley via G&D's for a bananarama milkshake and the Sunday papers (reading about Liv Tyler bouncing back after divorce, the MPs expenses scandal, and how a high profile lesbian fell in love with a well-known bisexual author).
  • Boyfriend met me there and asked me to hurry up by looking at me in a certain way. I asked him whether he was "on my team today or not because things could be easy or hard." He gave me a big hug, but then walked out anyway so I abandoned my reading material.
  • Met friends for lunch, at their place off Cowley Road. Brought chicken and rhubarb as contribution to feast.
  • Gordon Ramsay's Kitchen Nightmares (USA) was on in the background while we prepared vegies for roast lunch and fruit for crumble.
  • Watched someone who knows how to cut things quickly and cook intuitively.
  • Animated conversation over table about how we were parented, the nature of ambition, social rules.
  • Full and pretty drowsy, cruised on over to the Little Feat gig at the Carling Academy on Cowley Road. Full of chunky men, most over 55.
  • Favourite Little Feat songs still Fat Man in the Bathtub, The Weight, Willing, and Dixie Chicken. (I talked these guys up a while ago and think you should at least check out these songs.)
  • Back home for foccacia dipped in oil and balsamic vinegar as no dinner. This snack seemed very late 90s New Labour to me.
  • Boyfriend playfully poked me and I said he poked me like Monty Burns and he said "Release the Hounds."
Here is what happened yesterday that is making me feel emotionally detached from the list above:
  • Went to Dept, tried to work, but felt glandy and squinty.
  • Then after lunch, as if on auto-pilot, just left Dept, walked home and slept for 2 hours.
  • Feel as if I could sleep for a month but must get on with chapters.
Now wondering if day off (Sunday) is best spent just lying and staring. Bearing in mind that I do exercise in the week and I do try to get to bed at a sensible hour, I would really appreciate some tips to better relax and use my time off to gain energy rather than lose it. Thank you.

Tuesday, 5 May 2009

All the Stars Are Coming Out Tonight for You!

So something has snuck up on me, besides my flippin' computer screen wrinkles and thesis malaise: my 100th post! My last post was, in fact, my 100th. I didn't celebrate it and certainly none of you noticed it, which leaves me feeling like a 65 year old who has quietly and thanklessly looked after all her kids as well as the neighbourhood's while working full-time at the literacy centre of a local school.

In today's society, there's only one way to remedy this injustice and that is by renovating my College accommodation for a home makeover TV show. Imagine me in slow motion getting off my bike (after a day by the river that you set up and embarrassed that I have helmet head) to Take That's We Can Rule the World in front of my new home surrounded by a bunch of salivating people I have barely met. Now, indulge me (and provide me with some sense of this momentous achievement), and let me know how you would decorate a part of my house with a maximum budget of £250. I want it themed, kitch and within budget. Thanks (and tears) in advance.

Friday, 1 May 2009

Only in Oxford...

...would you spend a Thursday evening eating overpriced pub grub (£10 for a slab of crumbed chicken in a dry bun) with students from Poland, The States, The Netherlands and Italy and then ride down in your Converse to join a bunch of English undegrads hear Jack Straw, Lord Chancellor and Secretary of State for Justice, present a case for why Labour should win the next election (on the basis that it is more committed to substantial equality than the Conservatives) and explain why the British Goverment did not lie to the public about the presence WMDs in Iraq; how there was no dishonesty just wrong information and that it was a matter of public confidence being lower than it should be. Only in Oxford would you find yourself unlocking your bike right next to the MP himself as he jumped into the back of a shiny cobalt van surrounded by a bunch of geezers in black suits. Only I would be so desperate for attention as to ask them for a lift back to my College, "plenty of room fellas". I got a couple of chuckles for my troubles (Mmm...tasty doggie biscuit treats).

Am off to Ben's Big Gig tonight with a load of friends. You can watch it live at this site from 8pm-10:30pm GMT. It's geek pop that Demi Moore thinks is "hilarious" and to which posh celeb chef, Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall has given the thumbs up (or the pointy finger).